Whether you want to travel across the country or get away from the city for a weekend trip, a camping trailer can help you enjoy the outdoors. Unfortunately, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to purchase a whole camping trailer. Many people have found it to be more cost effective to build their own camping trailers for road use. Although a great deal of metalworking and woodworking experience is required, building your own camping trailer can be an exciting challenge that will save you thousands of dollars during your next vacation.
A number of online resources can help you locate the necessary plans to build your own camping trailer. Glen-L Designs operates an online catalogue of trailer plans available for purchase. Although the plans are not free, the catalogue covers an extensive number of different models, and most plans will not cost more than £39.
Although free complete camping trailer plans are hard to come by online, a 1936 "Popular Mechanics" article entitled "Building a Teardrop Sleeper Trailer" covers most of the necessary information. Although the plans are from 1936, it includes instructions and a list of materials that will allow anyone experienced with metalworking and woodworking to come up with a basic camping trailer design.
The exact materials you need will vary based upon the plans that you acquire. However, the basic materials will include adhesive epoxies, electrical wiring, aluminium or fibreglass siding, window material, axles, running gear, moulding, fenders, hinges to connect metal pieces and metal and wood pieces for the framework and supports. Your workshop should be outfitted with both a jigsaw and a band saw to complete most cuts. Most plans will require you to weld metal pieces together. These metal pieces and welding services can be acquired from a local welding shop.
Being creative with the sources of your materials will help you save the most money. Check local estate sales, scrap yards or police auctions to find the metal pieces and proper running gear to complete your camping trailer assembly. You may be best served finding an old junker car that you can dismantle to acquire suspension, wheels, axles and the like.
Because the trailer is considered a road vehicle, you will need to contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles office to find out what regulations you will need to adhere to during construction of your camping trailer. Regulations will include, but are not limited to, properly installed number plates, tail lighting and verification that you built the camping trailer yourself.